Cowes weekend 2023

 4 July 2023 With Bay Leaf's new engine running well we set off for the weekend in Cowes for Round the Island. About 12 boats from the club were going this year. Sue was with me and we both had a space arranged on our friend Stuart's boat Moontide for the race, but travelling to and from the island in Bay Leaf. 29 June - Littlehampton to Gosport We met at the boat around 0800 Thursday and loaded all the clobber. High water at 0811 gave us a departure time around 0900. Starting the engine on battery 2 I noticed the red light stayed on, indicating lack of charging, which was a small worry but we had battery 1 if we needed it. Setting that thought aside, leaving harbour at 0905 we set full sail on a starboard beam reach, heading 240 degrees.  On the GPS it looks like there's a direct line to Boulder / Street but Selsey rocks are in the way, and sure enough the Mixon pole came into sight around 1040. Passing it on our starboard side abeam at 1110 we turned east towards the Looe

Re-powering project Spring 2023

24 June 2023 Following difficulty with the gearbox last year (it wouldn't select easily into forward, and then only turned slowly) a quick look in the box showed little oil and evidence of loose filings. Not good. My friend Spencer at the club offered to slip the gearbox out over winter while she was ashore and have a look. In order to do that, he had to get the engine out and into the cabin. Spares for that gearbox are not available. A reconditioned replacement gearbox would be £600 + vat. The old Sea Panther engine, which has a history of being difficult to start, was already out. So after a bit of thought I decided not to put the old engine back in and instead to source a new engine + gearbox. Spencer has re-powered a few boats at the club and was kind enough to find time for this project.  Marine Enterprises are very helpful on the phone but items on their web site bear no relation to what they actually have available. So there was no Beta engine around. But there was a Perkins

Gearbox and crane-out

29 Oct 2022 On our trip out to sea with Morgan and Florence we noticed that the engine wasn't driving that well. A couple of weeks later we were due to go out racing when I noticed that I couldn't get her into forward gear. After spending a bit of time with helpful friends putting oil in and fiddling, I came to the conclusion that she couldn't go to sea like that. Since then my friend Spencer has had a look and there's something going on with the clutch or something and the gearbox is going to have to come out. So, no more sailing for us this year, never mind. Now it's the end of October and time to crane-out. Quite a lot of weed on the bottom but otherwise not too bad. As always, many hands make the work lighter at the club as everyone helps out. Safely set down ashore in the club car park alongside about thirty others, I just need to jetwash that weed off later this week then leave her till next year.

Brief sail with no wind

10 Sept 2022 Club events were cancelled this weekend due to the passing of Her Majesty the Queen. I had organised a team for today's planned race and we decided to just go for a sail anyway. My nephew Morgan, his friend Florence, and my friend Sue from the yacht club met mid-morning to find little wind but dry weather and mild conditions. High water was around 1200 and without needing to rush to meet a race start we were able to take our time and depart the berth with little drama around 1145 in plenty of depth.  Bay Leaf seemed to struggle a little getting out of the river even against a low incoming flood, I wondered if the clutch was slipping or something, she had plenty of engine revs but not much forward thrust. We got out to sea perfectly ok to find little wind and smooth water. Morgan was keen to set full sail so we stopped the engine and unrolled the genoa. Florence hadn't been before so it was good to have time to explain and enjoy the activities. There were only a few

Long one

28 August 2022 Remembering the hot engine after the last race, I tipped about two litres of coolant into the heat exchanger last week. I wonder where the fluid is going, it doesn't seem to be leaking into the bilge and the oil looks fine. I also took out and tested the thermostat using Bay Leaf's cooker and her best non-stick saucepan. The engine now runs fine and without overheating.  On Sunday I had Jonathan Webb and Sue Berry with me for the final race of the club's Bank Holiday Series. We struggled to get off the berth due to the mud and the race officer had already mentioned that he'd be starting on time at 1130, luckily the tide began to lift us and we got off just in time, motoring to the start area just as he called the 10 minute countdown.  Like last time, the wind was from the SE and the course was set into the wind and into the tide, but perhaps a bit more wind. We only just had time to set the sails properly before we had to make our reach towards the start

Retired hot

13 August 2022 Great to have George with me again for today's cruiser race. Five boats signed on and we got off the berth at 1120 for the 1200 start. Blistering heatwave here at the moment, almost 30 Celcius, we were looking forward to cooler air at sea. Wind from the SE F2-3, bright sky. Lots of boats around Littlehampton today - Zap Cat powerboat racing off East Beach, lots of leisure traffic, beaches crowded with people on this mid-August very hot weekend.  A very strong incoming tide meant we had to run the engine on full power to get out of the river into the open sea, we were glad to shut it off as the temperature needle had gone up to the red. Need to check that later but we were under sail now so plenty of time for it to cool down.  Avoiding those powerboats, the race officer Nick set us a start area to the west and we made a good practice start at the 10 minute signal so we could get an idea of how to attack the start. Coming from the south with the wind behind us, then gy

New tiller

3rd August 2022 Bay Leaf had a fairly tatty tiller, dark wood, with an elbow bend made of metal to which the tiller extension was attached. On our recent sail we noticed that this elbow joint was failing resulting in a wobbly tiller which felt like it might break. The previous owner had left a brand new tiller in the boat, apparently custom made, beautifully laminated, but raw (unvarnished) and it would need to be cut and fitted into the stainless steel / chrome piece that bolts on top of the rudder post. I have been putting this off for about two years now. My friend Charles Taylor at the club is very good with wood and he agreed to sort this out for me - cut and fit the new tiller into the metal fitting, make sure the angle was correct, buff up the metal piece, and apply some oil and varnish. We met at the boat on Wednesday evening and it looked great, much admired by other sailors as we carried it to the boat. Charles also found, loose inside Bay Leaf near the rudder post, a couple